Starting preschool is a significant milestone in the life of a toddler. Feeling excited and anxious about unfamiliar surroundings is entirely normal. However, if your toddler is having a hard time dealing with the transition, they may have separation anxiety. Here’s what you should know.
A Guide to Separation Anxiety
What Is It?
Separation anxiety is the feeling of apprehension that toddlers may experience when they’re away from their homes or parents. Most children experience separation anxiety at some point. It usually peaks between 8 months and 2-1/2 years but can happen at any age.
How Does It Manifest?
Some toddlers will cry or throw tantrums when their parents leave; others may refuse attention from nonparental caregivers. A toddler may even refuse all entreaties to go to preschool.
In severe cases, separation anxiety may spark a panic attack. Signs of panic include shortness of breath, vomiting, and nausea.
How Can You Help a Toddler Cope?
To ease a toddler’s anxiety, prepare them for the day. Explain what will happen at preschool, the people they’ll see, the games they’ll play, and the time you’ll be back. When you drop a toddler off at preschool, give them a hug, and hand them off to a teacher who can make them feel safe.
Other strategies to ease anxiety include taking along a favorite toy or blanket for comfort, keeping calm, and remaining positive. Trying short days in the beginning may also help facilitate acceptance
Although it may take some time for a toddler’s separation anxiety to subside, consistency in your efforts will help.
The caregivers and teachers at Big Blue Bird Early Childhood Center provide a fun and nurturing environment for toddlers. Located in Lexington, KY, this top-rated child care center offers day care and preschool programs for children aged 6 months to 4 years. They have a low child-to-teacher ratio and have proudly served the community for more than 40 years. Visit their website to review frequently asked questions, or contact them at (859) 299-9277 to schedule a tour of their facilities.